Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Support The Future of Steno!



This poor blog has been sadly neglected lately, but someone pointed out that I should probably alert its readers to the ongoing crowdfunding campaign we're currently running over at The Open Steno Project. I mostly post about Open Steno Project stuff over at The Plover Blog, which is targeted towards steno amateurs and hobbyists rather than professionals. This blog, by contrast, mostly assumes an audience of professional captioners like me. It's a small group of people (only 465 Certified Realtime Captioners in the United States, according to the NCRA Online Sourcebook!), but one that's obviously extremely close to my heart.

So here's my appeal, addressed to any of my colleagues and future colleges who might read this blog.

The number of people who can use a steno machine has been trending gradually but inexorably downwards for a very long time. Machine steno used to be taught in high schools, secretarial schools, anywhere it might be useful for someone to learn a faster method of transcription than longhand, pen shorthand, or typewriting. Manual steno machines were inexpensive and plentiful. They could be bought on a whim. Some people who learned machine steno studied it diligently enough to become professional court reporters. Others, who couldn't quite match courtroom speeds, used them to take dictation. Some probably just learned the skill for fun, or in case it might become useful at some point in the future.

Then came the 1980s, when for the first time you didn't need to transcribe your steno notes into English for them to be useful. Computers were able to do that for you. That's when steno went on lockdown, and that's when the decline began.

Instead of $30 for a machine and a short self-study course or a few semesters at a trade school, you suddenly needed to pay thousands of dollars for hardware and software. Trade schools became eligible for Federal student loan money and started charging up to $20,000 a year for court reporting programs, despite the fact that, as always, there was an 85% dropout rate from court reporting programs. Steno was no longer something people could pick up and teach themselves on a whim. You had to pay dearly just to give it a try, and if you weren't in the 15% that got to professional court reporting speeds, the price of failure was enormous.

Most professional stenographers -- court reporters and captioners -- know all of this already.

But what we don't always admit to ourselves is that if we don't drastically change something, our profession won't continue to exist in the future. Our technology is by far the fastest and most accurate means of turning human speech into realtime text, but if fewer and fewer people continue to learn how to use it, our deaf and hard of hearing clients will have to settle for whatever accommodations are available to them.

Some people have proposed initiatives to get more high school students into steno schools, but that seems ill-advised to me. Is it ethical to encourage kids to spend huge amounts of money on software, hardware, and schooling, even if most of them might not have the baseline fine motor skills or literacy skills or dedication or determination or whatever ineffable thing ensures that they become one of the successful 15%? However you cut it, those are not good odds.

Wouldn't it be better to give a huge number of people the opportunity to develop baseline steno skills first, without any real risk or financial barriers, and then let the best and brightest of that number continue on to professional careers, while the rest float along happily at a hobbyist or amateur level, writing at 140 to 160 words per minute and ecstatic to have doubled their qwerty speed? A huge number of people spend their days entering text at a computer. Why not give them the opportunity to do that more quickly and efficiently? Why should this machine only be considered useful at speeds above 200 WPM?

This is the reason for the Steno Arcade campaign.

Over the last five years, about 500 people have attempted to teach themselves steno using $40 to $200 hardware and our free online textbook. Many of them have succeeded and are delighted with their new skill. A precious few of those have gone on to professional certification as realtime captioners or court reporters. 500 people isn't bad, but we could reach so many more.

In the time since we launched the playable demo of Steno Hero on Steam, we've had over 5,000 downloads. 5,000 people have gotten a taste of our game, and most of them love it!

Not everyone wants to teach themselves a new skill out of a textbook.

Many, many people learn new skills every day by playing video games. Often that skill is just "be better at this specific video game", but people have learned how to play guitar, how to draw, how to fly an airplane, and, of course, how to touch-type.

Any skill that requires repetitive practice of granular movements that start easy and gradually increase in difficulty can be taught and reinforced with a video game. Steno meets these criteria beautifully.

That's why we're building a free video game suite to teach steno. Our software is already free. Our hardware is already affordable. Two of the three barriers that were built against free and widespread access to steno in the early computer age have already toppled. The only piece left is education.

If you contribute to the Steno Arcade campaign, you will help bring steno into the living room of a middle schooler, high schooler, college student, or career-pivoting young adult. They'll pick it up on a whim, just as people did with those big, heavy manual machines nearly a century ago, and they'll give it a try. They'll start out slow and awkward, gradually pick up speed, eventually find that they're writing faster on their steno machine than they ever managed on their qwerty keyboard, and a few of them will decide that they want to pursue the breathless rush of turning words to text at 200+ WPM as a career.

Short of this, I don't see the trajectory of our profession changing in any meaningful way. Fewer people will enter steno schools. Most will drop out. Those that succeed will see their colleagues retiring around them without anyone younger coming in to take their place.

I love steno with all my heart. I don't want to see that happen. If you care about this technology and this profession, please consider contributing to the Steno Arcade campaign, or at least spreading it around to friends, colleagues, and potential future colleagues. If we can make this happen, we can turn that trajectory around and make sure that our jobs and the clients who rely on them are supported and secure, well into the future.

Be a Steno Hero! Help us build Steno Arcade!

44 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IEEE Project Domain management in software engineering is distinct from traditional project deveopment in that software projects have a unique lifecycle process that requires multiple rounds of testing, updating, and faculty feedback. A IEEE Domain project Final Year Projects for CSE system development life cycle is essentially a phased project model that defines the organizational constraints of a large-scale systems project. The methods used in a IEEE DOmain Project systems development life cycle strategy Project Centers in Chennai For CSE provide clearly defined phases of work to plan, design, test, deploy, and maintain information systems.


      This is enough for me. I want to write software that anyone can use, and virtually everyone who has an internet connected device with a screen can use apps written in JavaScript. JavaScript Training in Chennai JavaScript was used for little more than mouse hover animations and little calculations to make static websites feel more interactive. Let’s assume 90% of all websites using JavaScript use it in a trivial way. That still leaves 150 million substantial JavaScript Training in Chennai JavaScript applications.

      Delete
  2. Nicely written! I think the things you touch upon are just a few of the many ways we can build this profession. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Grammy 2017 will be at 5:00 PM - 8:30 PM on Sunday, February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. Read more:



    Grammys

    Grammy 2017

    Grammys 2017

    2017 Grammys

    Watch Grammy 2017

    Grammy Awards

    Grammy Awards 2017

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was looking of your posts on this site page and I consider this site page is truly enlightening ! Keep setting up.
    buy dissertation online

    ReplyDelete
  5. Couponing is easy with these top coupon sites. Most have verified coupons you can print that will save you up to 90% on groceries, clothes Myntra coupons

    ReplyDelete
  6. Excellent and nice post. It will beneficial for everyone. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post. Avail No 1 dissertation editing services UK from certified PhD writers. It is extremely helpful for me. You can email us at info@ukdissertationhelp.co.uk or Phone Number - 020 8144 9988

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your blog looks worthy. If you decide that you need help with completing writing task you need to know that you can visit https://dissertationmasters.com/order-business-plan-online.html. Here you'll get support and professional help.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Even though the majority of people write a discussion chapter to include in their theses or dissertations, a lot of them overlook a number of critical aspects. A discussion chapter is the section where you bring your entire paper together. For better understanding read this https://best-writing-service.net/discussion-chapter-for-a-dissertation.html.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical component of online marketing. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical component of online marketing. At SEO Services In Delhi we use a combination of the latest onsite and off-site strategies to produce top results.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good and relevant information about an important topic. Here the author presented the main points in a clear and understanding way. Thanks a lot for sharing. Visit here

    ReplyDelete
  11. Brother Printer is one of the best and widely used printer. If you want Brother Printer Drivers For Windows 10. All you have to do is dial our Brother Printer Support Phone Number .

    ReplyDelete
  12. Telus Support Phone Number is a customer care helpline that is offered by one of the best mail service provider. The experts at this toll-free helpline renders all your forget password, password recovery and other related issues. Reach them anytime at Telus Support whenever you need their help.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Would you like to know how to execute HP Printer Setup for windows?
    Executing HP printer setup for windows is not a tough task and let us explain the steps one by one
    · For the brand new models, fix the power and USB cable
    · Insert the cartridges and also place the paper properly in your paper input tray
    · Proceed with the steps for software download
    · For windows, operating system, built-in printer drivers are often recommended
    Visit the compatible webpage 123.hp.com and provide the required data, if download from website is your option.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Are you looking to find out how to resolve the error Canon printer not responding? To resolve this issue, you can follow the below-given troubleshooting techniques.
    • Troubleshoot the wired or wireless connection between the printer and the PC.
    • Printer reset can be performed.
    • Uninstall printers that are no longer in use and reinstall your printer afresh.
    • Print queue deletion can also be done.
    • Reset your printer as a last resort to overcome the problem.
    Make use of our toll-free number for in-depth assistance on the Canon Printer Issues.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Its time to begin Kodak Verite 55 setup and you will get an idea if you read and understand the device setup manual. For brand new models, connect the hardware’s and include the Power, Ethernet and USB cable. Begin your search to find the cartridge slot and slide the cartridge. The software download is the most important step; you can navigate to the appropriate webpage and use the support number on our webpage

    ReplyDelete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. If you feel that executing HP OfficeJet Pro 8025 Setup is tough, refer the manual and proceed further. You should have a basic idea of the Printer settings. Activate the network and choose the required settings using the control panel. Use the available software and driver download methods compatible with the driver update. If wireless setup wizard is your choice, run the setup steps to complete the setup Carry on with the instructions and for setup guide and assistance, use the toll-free number@ +1-844-876-5110

    ReplyDelete
  18. 1.To begin with, navigate to the hp support page
    2.Find the software and drivers option on the top blue bar
    3.In the next page select the option as printer
    4.You will have to type in the printer model which is, in this case, HP Envy 5055
    5.The next page will have the list of HP Envy 5055 drivers
    6.Choose the correct one and click on the download
    7.After the download completes, continue with the instructions on the screen to complete the HP Envy 5055 driver
    If you want to know anything else regarding the HP printers, call us using the toll-free number.

    ReplyDelete
  19. HP printers are well known for their high-end features and advanced functions. If you have bought a new HP printer and require drivers for it, you can then get it easily from 123.hp.com/setup. The site also contains ways to get the drivers. If you have any queries regarding the product then feel free to contact us@ +1-888-214-1820 for assistance.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Looking for Epson Printer drivers then epson.com/connect is best place for you. Visit to get latest & updated drivers for all Epson Printer models.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Looking for help with Epson Printer issues then call Epson Printer tech Support phone number. Call us to get help & support for all Epson Printer models.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Looking for help with Malware bytes issues then call Malware bytes tech Support phone number. Call us to get help & support for all Malware bytes related issues.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Looking for help with Gmail Password recovery issues then call Gmail Password recovery phone number. Call us to get help & support for all Gmail Password related issues.

    ReplyDelete
  24. looking for Epson Printer drivers then epson.com/connect is best place for you. Visit to get latest & updated drivers for all Epson Printer models.

    ReplyDelete
  25. looking for help with Epson Printer issues then call Epson Printer tech Support phone number. Call us to get help & support for for all Epson Printer models.

    ReplyDelete

  26. looking for help with Malwarebytes issues then call Malwarebytes tech Support phone number . Call us to get help & support for for all Malwarebytes related issues.

    ReplyDelete
  27. looking for help with Gmail Password recovery issues then call Gmail Password recovery phone number . Call us to get help & support for for all Gmail Password related issues.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Epson has been known as one of the major brands when it comes to printers. And solve all your printer queries like Epson printer offline issue, Epson printer not printing.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Know why your Epson printer not working and get all solutions for Epson printer offline issue.

    ReplyDelete